Adventist Hospital doctor 'attacked pregnant nurse'
Anaesthetist stops working at Happy Valley hospital after allegedly losing his temper and ramming trolley into mother-to-be
Emily Tsang and Niall Fraser
A senior anaesthetist has stopped practising at the Hong Kong Adventist Hospital after he allegedly assaulted a nine-months pregnant nurse in an operating theatre last week, the South China Morning Post has learned.
The nurse and her unborn baby were found to be unharmed in a check-up at the emergency ward, but the mother-to-be was said to be "very distraught" about the attack, which happened last Thursday, according to a source familiar with the matter.
It is the second known case of a doctor ceasing to practise at a private hospital after a similar incident, highlighting concerns about a lack of monitoring of violence in private hospitals.
"If a medical practitioner has a tendency towards violence or emotional problems, they may pose a risk to their colleagues as well as the patients," the source said.
"But the fact is, if the doctor has been banned from practising at one private hospital, he can simply work in another one."
A spokeswoman for the Happy Valley hospital confirmed an incident took place last Thursday. She said the doctor, whom she did not name, had voluntarily stopped working there following an inquiry.
The source said the doctor involved was private anaesthetist Jonathan Paul Kornberg. In 2008, the Post reported that an obstetrician, Dr Sally Ferguson, was banned from practising at the same hospital for assaulting a pharmacy dispenser.
Ferguson remained practising at other private hospitals until an alleged attack on a midwife came to light last year at the Matilda International Hospital on The Peak, where she resigned her admitting privileges.
Patients' Rights Association spokesman Tim Pang Hung-cheong said the lack of monitoring meant other hospitals and patients might not be aware of such incidents. "A system between private hospitals should be set up so they can alert each other to similar problems," Pang said.
The Medical Association, which licenses and disciplines doctors, could strike off a doctor for professional misconduct.
But association president Dr Tse Hung-hing said the Medical Council, of which he was formerly a member, would hold a hearing only after getting a complaint.
A Department of Health spokesman said all private hospitals were required to report to it any serious incident of public health significance.
According to the source, the anaesthetist lost his temper and rammed a trolley into a theatre nurse, who was in the ninth month of her pregnancy, knocking her over. She was bruised but her baby was unharmed.